More on Dunning-Kruger: the gap between confidence and competence

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A few weeks ago I posted a brief mention of the Dunning-Kruger effect – a psychological phenomena whereby the victim does not realise they are too dumb to know what they don’t know… or something like that. This is a great interview with the Dunning from Dunning-Kryger:

If you knew it, you’d say, “Wait a minute. The decision I just made does not make much sense. I had better go and get some independent advice.” But when you’re incompetent, the skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is. In logical reasoning, in parenting, in management, problem solving, the skills you use to produce the right answer are exactly the same skills you use to evaluate the answer. And so we went on to see if this could possibly be true in many other areas. And to our astonishment, it was very, very true.

And here’s a funny story illustrating the issue (which will doubtless make a good sermon illustration)… from the same article.

“Wheeler had walked into two Pittsburgh banks and attempted to rob them in broad daylight. What made the case peculiar is that he made no visible attempt at disguise. The surveillance tapes were key to his arrest. There he is with a gun, standing in front of a teller demanding money. Yet, when arrested, Wheeler was completely disbelieving. “But I wore the juice,” he said. Apparently, he was under the deeply misguided impression that rubbing one’s face with lemon juice rendered it invisible to video cameras.

In a follow-up article, Fuoco spoke to several Pittsburgh police detectives who had been involved in Wheeler’s arrest. Commander Ronald Freeman assured Fuoco that Wheeler had not gone into “this thing” blindly but had performed a variety of tests prior to the robbery. Sergeant Wally Long provided additional details — “although Wheeler reported the lemon juice was burning his face and his eyes, and he was having trouble (seeing) and had to squint, he had tested the theory, and it seemed to work.” He had snapped a Polaroid picture of himself and wasn’t anywhere to be found in the image. It was like a version of Where’s Waldo with no Waldo. Long tried to come up with an explanation of why there was no image on the Polaroid. He came up with three possibilities:

(a) the film was bad;

(b) Wheeler hadn’t adjusted the camera correctly; or

(c) Wheeler had pointed the camera away from his face at the critical moment when he snapped the photo.[2]

As Dunning read through the article, a thought washed over him, an epiphany. If Wheeler was too stupid to be a bank robber, perhaps he was also too stupid to know that he was too stupid to be a bank robber — that is, his stupidity protected him from an awareness of his own stupidity.”

Cool stories from the news

I have starred a bunch of news stories in the last few weeks that were cool but probably not quite worthy of individual posts (in my opinion) in order to clear my queue a bit I’ll post them all at once.

The Brazillian Soccer Heist

Have you seen any bank robbery movies where the robbers tunnel their way into the vault from a vacant neighbouring building? These thieves had. If I was a bank I would be buying up neighbouring businesses and being very careful about who I rented them out to.

Thieves in Brazil have stolen more than $6m (£3.7m) from a cash delivery firm, taking advantage of the nation’s passion for football, police say.

Police believe the thieves – who had dug a tunnel into the firm’s building – struck when season-ending matches were played in Sao Paulo on Sunday.

A security guard later told local media he had heard a loud noise but thought it was fireworks lit by fans.

Farmer plants land mines to thwart potato thieves
Only in Russia is it better to maim small children than have your potatos stolen. How else will you make the vodka that keeps you warm in those long winter months.

A Russian farmer has been convicted of planting landmines around his field to ward off trespassers.

Alexander Skopintsev, from the eastern region of Primorye near China’s border, laid the three devices on his land after building them in his garage.

The 73-year-old had apparently been concerned about the frequent theft of potatoes from his farm.

Ex Power Ranger challenges JCVD to MMA fight
That headline was just fun to write. Did you ever watch the “celebrity deathmatch” claymotion series? It was pretty dumb. It pitted sometimes obscure celebs against each other in wrestling matches that resulted in the untimely deaths of one or both of the clay figurines. This little incident is a bad case of life imitating art. It’s B grade meets D grade in a battle for martial art mediocrity.

The guy issuing the challenge is former White Ranger Jason David Frank, who tells TMZ, he’s had it out for Van Damme ever since 1995 when the Muscles from Brussels — who had been Frank’s childhood hero — allegedly blew him off during the premiere of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.”

As TMZ previously reported, Frank is now a scary-looking MMA fighter who has a fight next weekend in the Octagon — and Van Damme is reportedly looking to make his own pro fighting debut … so the timing couldn’t be better for Frank to settle the score.



Tattoo artist father wants to create a tattoo using his son’s ashes as ink

Creepy? Macarbe? Heartwarming? I can’t decide. A UK tattoo artist plans to turn his son’s ashes into tattoo ink so that he can recreate a photo of his son as a tattoo both for himself, and his wife.

A father from Herefordshire is to have a portrait of his dead son tattooed on his chest using the child’s ashes.

Mark Richmond, 39, and his wife Lisa, 31, said they wanted to do something as a lasting tribute to their son Ayden.

The couple, who own a tattoo parlour in Greater Manchester, plan to mix some of Ayden’s ashes in the ink for a 7in black and white portrait of him.